Saturday, January 31, 2009

Arthritis Foundation Video

This is a link to an Arthritis Foundation Video. I haven't talked much about my RA. This is a fundraising video--a little a hard to watch, but very educational.

Favorite Brands

From the beginning, I've tried to concentrate on the "normal" things that we can eat that are already gluten-free. But there are just some things that we've missed, so through experiment, trial and error, we are starting to develop a list of things that our family likes and can afford. I received my first Amazon order last week--much cheaper--of our favorites! Here's a beginning of the list:

  • Kinni Kwik Bread and Bun Mix-Great for corn bread, and bread and buns are pretty good, too. Just a bit of an aftertaste. It doesn't seem to bother Alec at all, though, just me. Very easy to use.
  • Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pastas-We just can't seem to find a rice pasta we like. This one pleases us all, and I like the taste so much sometimes I crave it. Nutrionally it's better than wheat pasta.
  • Bob's Red Mill Chocolate Cake Mix-I've tried a couple of different mixes, but this is my favorite so far. I tried adding a bit of sour cream for some of the liquid last time, and some chocolate chips. It has a very cake-like consistency. We ate them all!!! So now I have 5 packages in my pantry.
  • CherryBrooke Kitchens Sugar Cookie Mix-Yummy! My kids ate these up!
  • Soy Joy Bars-These are great for lunches, and Target has had them on sale the past few weeks. Some places don't carry them by the box, and they are bit expensive by the bar. They've been $2.74/box at Target this week (don't know how long that will last). Not all my kids like them, but they are absent all my family's allergens (strawberries, apples (except the apple bars), gluten, etc.)
  • Blue-Diamond Nut Cracker-I'm addicted to these! I love them with cheese, and I have to ration them out to the kids.

Some things we are now eating that we've never eaten much before include Funyons, grits (who knew how good these were?), risotto, polenta (ok, I never even knew what it was, and now it makes my mouth water), and lots more simple dishes--just fish, veggies, and some rice and one of the simple sides above. I'm also using more herbs and spices.

My sister just found out that she is also gluten-sensitive. The genes are outing themselves--I hope she is soon feeling as much better as my son is! Love you, girl!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A House Divided, Gluten-Wise OR My Restaurant Tantrum

It's Friday night, and we ate out tonight. We are not doing that much anymore, and anytime we do, it's at some specially pre-selected place where I know there is a gluten-free menu. The times we've been cavelier about his diet, we've paid for it with days of him not feeling well.

I make sure before we make a move that there is food for him wherever we are going. I can feel us all relaxing a bit as time goes on, but still, it is a new way of life, being responsible for a child who will get ill if he eats what everyone else is eating. It has made me more than a little anxious at times over the past few weeks. Do I have enough food in the house? Food for his lunch? Breakfast? Something to send with him to a friends? To a church fellowship? What will we do about camp? About college? (I'm getting a litte ahead of myself here, aren't I?) I dream at night of grocery aisles of gluten-free food, and spend hours a day on the internet, trying to find the flour mix of my dreams.

Funny thing is, my normally fuss-budget-of-a-kid has turned remarkably layed back about his food lately. "Sure, mom. I can eat those." "It doesn't matter." "I can eat whatever." Blessing of all blessings, God somehow sent a better attitude with his better health, which is quite a change for him. No shreiking, gagging, or complaining in general, he has even apologized for not liking a few of the odder things I've served him. Huh?

So tonight we went out to one of my preselected restaurants. Fish City, with its very own gluten-free menu. When I asked the waiter for it, he had no idea what I was talking about--I explained I wanted the menu for the items free of wheat, for my son. He said the kid's menu "didn't have much wheat." I'm a little keyed up about the whole gluten-free thing, as I've said. I pointed to the kid's menu, and named the items, "hamburger, mac and cheese, fried fish, fried chicken. Those ALL have wheat. I need the menu without wheat. He cannot eat wheat and your restaurant has a menu with food choices that don't contain it."

Our waiter was pretty young, and he started to stutter. "I, I'll go see." He returned shortly with the gluten-free menu, but in the meantime, my sweet son had called me on my behavior. "Mom! You can't talk to him like that! You're acting like he's dumb." I apologized to the poor guy when he returned, who also apologized for not remembering the menu. We were off to a better start, and I indulged my sea-food lovers.

There are several good options--my blackened catfish was great. Alec loves crab legs, and even though they are expensive, I gave in and let him have them this time. He was happy as a clam, or maybe a crab, and both the glutened and the non among us were satisfied. No bread on the table to make us wish we had some, and their slaw has a vinegar dressing that I love.

Thumbs up from our family of five! And apologies to the waiter--Alec thanked him profusely when we left! The waiter worked hard to make up for his initial lack of information, and Alec worked hard to make up for my rudeness, so I think we were all happy when we left.

Tortilla Soup

I try, whenever I can, to make old favorites that were always gluten-free. Here is one of our cold-weather favorites, Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Since I am trying to do away with most processed foods for myself, this one is nice and simple but without anything too fake. My whole family likes it.

Tortilla Soup

1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 lb. chicken, cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can Rotel
1 quart chicken broth
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
salt to taste

Saute chicken, onion and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes, Rotel, broth and seasonings. Simmer an hour. Serve with cheese and corn chips.
We put the chips in the bowl and pour the soup over them, then top with cheese.

Check all ingredients, especially spices, for gluten. Now, I often boil the chicken and make my own broth, use what I need for the soup and freeze the rest for next time, but you can use canned or boxed broth (check for gluten).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lorie's GF Oriental Chicken
6 boneless, skinless breast halves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon lime soda
2/3 cup white wine or chicken stock
3 cloves smashed & chopped garlic (I use the garlic in a jar for ease)
2 T soy sauce (La Choy is GF)
1 tsp ground black pepper
Plop chicken into your crockpot. Cover with brown sugar, pepper, chopped garlic and soy sauce. Add the wine, and pour in the soda (it will bubble). Cover and cook on low for 6-9 hours, or on high for 4-5. The chicken is done when it is cooked through and has reached desired consistency. The longer you cook it, the more tender it will be. Serve over a bowl of white rice with a ladle full of broth. Note: Lori doubles the sauce recipe so there's enough to spoon over the rice. She also likes to add crushed pineapple to the top of it.

It's a bit sweet for my taste, but my family likes it. DD1 (Dear Daughter 1) even ate some of the chicken. She dislikes most meat. DD2 and Sweet Son loved it, as did the Hubby.

Peanut Butter Cookies
(I came straight home and made these for my son after he was diagnosed. I've made them since I was a little , and they were the one thing I could think of! I wanted him to know he would still be able to eat good things.)

2 cups peanut butter
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheet.
2. Combine peanut butter, eggs, and sugar and mix until smooth. Mix in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Spoon dough by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for 5 to 10 minutes before removing.

Sick of Being Sick

January 26,2009
I've always wanted to blog, but felt I just didn't have the time or that it would be just a bit selfish or self-indulgent, but here I go myself. This just seems the quickest way to share gluten-free tips and recipes for friends and family, so perhaps I'm not being too selfish. . .

About three months ago I began a gluten-free diet as an experiment to combat my rheumatoid arthritis. A month after that, we found out my son is gluten-sensitive. An experiment became an imperitive--and I've had to learn quickly. I still have a lot of learning to do--everyday is a new day! God had blessed us richly as my son's health has improved. I'm still hoping that mine will continue to get better. But here's a start on some healthy recipes--tested in our kitchen.

I don't know how often I'll update, but I hope to add information frequently so that this can be a diary of sorts of our family and our progress.